Raising children as a single parent can be difficult. Child support is a way for a non-custodial parent to care for their children. Your ex’s child support can help provide food, clothing, and medical care.

If you have multiple children, making ends meet on one income can be even more challenging. The potential for financial strain is a great reason why you should know your rights under the law.

How courts calculate child support

A court considers the ability of you and your ex to earn money, the needs of your children, and the potential standard of living for your child without a break up or divorce.  From there, the court will use the following steps to determine how much your ex will pay:

  • Add the individual net incomes of you and your ex.
  • After totaling the combined net incomes, the court will use a grid to determine how much both you and your ex will pay. This number is based on both net incomes and the number of children you two have.
  • A judge will order one or both of you to pay a percentage of that net income.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has a calculator on their website to give you an idea, but remember, nothing is official until a judge enters a child support order. You should only use this tool to get a rough idea.

Recent changes to the state’s child support law can be confusing and it’s important that you don’t miss out on any rights it entitles you to.